Sample Research Paper on The Sui Tang and Song Dynasty

The Sui Tang and Song Dynasty

The Sui dynasty is the sequence of rulers from the Sui family in the Chinese culture. It started from 581 and ended in 618. It had only three emperors; Sui Wendi, Sui Yangdi and Sui Gongdi. The Tang dynasty came after the Sui dynasty, founded in 618 and ended in 907. It was characterized with remarkable prosperity and became the most powerful during that period. The Song dynasty began in 960 and ended in 1279 (Bill, 2010).  It consisted of the Northern Song dynasty that lasted from 960 to 1127 and was founded by Zhao Kuangyin. The Southern Song dynasty picked up from 1127 to 1279 under the leadership of Zhao Gou, the son of the last emperor of the Northern Song dynasty. The song dynasty had a radiant culture and was successful economically. As a result it was considered as another ‘golden age’.

The Sui dynasty preceded northern and southern dynasties that lasted from 386 to 589; a very long period of division of the nation. Sui dynasty achieved reunification of the society which granted stability and political development. The new political system consisted of six ministries with three sections which were the first ones in Chinese history. In this system royal power became enhanced and court work division became detailed. The traditional Hierarchical System was replaced by an Imperial Examination System that connected studying with taking of examination and attaining an official position.

The economical structure of the Sui dynasty was also a developed version of the preceding dynasty. It was characterized with increased agricultural acreage that promoted the crop yield. There was also advancement in shipbuilding technology and introduction of a series of policies to control the commercial sector. The resultant moderated tax and the equally distributed farmland led to increased fiscal revenue.

The social reforms during the reign of the Sui dynasty were necessary in order to reduce the extensive gap between the rich and the poor. Land equalization systems provided distribution of land on basis of size of a family. This enhanced control over land ownership by the rich. Emperor Wen and his son emperor Yang constructed the Grand Canal to improve transport and communication between the south and north. The canal connected the Yellow river and the Yangtz River and greatly impacted cultural development.

The Tang dynasty had an enlightened political and socioeconomic structure that greatly contributed to its prosperity as a glorious reign. The Tang dynasty initiated the organizational structure ‘Dao’ and ‘Fu’ to divide the political districts. It also consisted of a more subordinate administrative structure broken down into towns (xian), five hundred families (xiang), one hundred families (li), villages (cun), five families (Bao) and four families (Lin). The political set up also had an official system that consisted of the central official system and local official system (Klein, 2012).  Another key aspect of the political system was the imperial examination system, which enabled intellectuals born in poor families to become officers in the feudal court.

Economic development during the Tang dynasty was commendable. Agricultural productions improved during the reign of emperor Gaozu. He came up with reforms in Agriculture with improvements that enhanced production efficiency and positively impacted the economy of China. In arid areas which had fertile soils irrigation was employed with an aim of generating income and revenue that improved the economy. Another source of economic gain during the Tang dynasty was the handicraft industry where people engaged in textile technology especially silk manufacture. Other industries during the Tang dynasty include ceramics, paper making, tea processing and porcelain making.

The Tang dynasty consisted of eight different social classes. The social class of the highest rank was; the emperor and his family, it had power over the whole Tang empire. The next was the aristocracy class consisting of noble men who were part of the Tang government but were less powerful than the emperor. Then the next class was called the bureaucracy who consisted of the scholars and the functionaries. Members of the bureaucracy were chosen by the civil service exam. The eunuchs formed the middle class and worked as servants for the emperor and his family.

The class of the clergy included religious officials. The peasants were people who usually lived in poverty and worked in the fields. Being poor they barely owned much land and were constantly rebellious to the government due to poor treatment. Then the artisans or traders referred to people who practiced a certain profession and making items. The traders moved from place to place selling these items. The last in the rank were the slaves; who had very limited power and were controlled by the owners. They were subjected to severe punishments if they failed to obey laws and commands. Slavery was also hereditary; hence the one family formed the slaves during the Tang dynasty.

The Song dynasty employed a more autocratic political system than the Tang Empire because more power was in the hands of the emperor himself. The Song administration consisted of the prefectures (Zhou) and districts (xian) which were directly controlled by the central government (Bill, 2010). The whole centralized government was constructed in a form similar to the structure of a radiation spider web, such that every aspect of the government concentrated in the imperial court. All military matters were under the control of the bureau of military affairs, while the important financial and household matters became tasks of the three departments of the state financial commission.

The Song dynasty had an advanced economy. The Chinese under Song dynasty invested their funds in joint stock companies and in multiple sailing vessels. Prominent merchants and investors were allowed to use industries that were yet to be converted into government monopolies. The artisans and traders formed guilds to help the state assess taxes, requisition of goods and set policies of workers’ wages and prices of goods. Iron industry was very successful economically as a result of presence of investors both from the private and government sector, who had smelting facilities (Klein, 2012).  Another notable advancement in the economy during the Song dynasty was the establishment of the world’s first paper printed money.

The Song Chinese society was marked with a philosophical revival of Confucianism, the development of cities beyond administrative purposes into centers of trade. Rural inhabitants were mostly farmers, hunters, fishermen or government employees in the mines. The main religious groups during the Song dynasty were Daoism and Budhism. Justice systems were maintained by policing Sheriffs, investigators, official coroners and magistrates. Analyzing the dynasties, it is clear that advancement in forensic science enhanced ease of conviction of criminals during this period.

 

Bill, G. (2010). The Sui Tang and Song Dynasty. New York Publishers.

Klein, W. (2012).  Dynasty and Political Structure. Washington University Press.